Sunday, December 14, 2008
I have no idea why I've been feeling so retro lately -- must be the whole final-year-of-my-30s thing having its way with me. I promise to get back to posting more recent music soon, but this morning there's something I just really need to put out there:
Bill Joel is a god.
He's been hugely successful for almost 40 years -- yet in spite of that, he's often overlooked whenever the conclave of the musical intelligentsia in this country issues its official declaration of what constitutes a serious artistic achievement. The fact is that Bill Joel has written so many good songs and done it for so long that, ironically, it's easy to forget just how talented the man is.
Case in point: Back in my late teens, a friend of mine dragged me -- and I really do mean dragged me -- to see Joel live in Miami. He had an extra ticket and pretty much demanded that I go with him since he'd otherwise be forced to suffer the shame of sitting alone at a concert. At the time, I was into punk and alternative and the idea of seeing Billy Joel, who had admittedly recorded a couple of albums I'd once played so often that I wore them out, just seemed so uncool. But about a half-hour into the show, I had the kind of powerful awakening that can only come from suddenly realizing that you're listening to the music of your life -- that you'd foolishly forgotten how much you love every single song you're hearing.
That's the way it works when you're talking about Billy Joel. In addition to that, there's simply no arguing that Joel is the songwriter laureate of the place I call home: New York City.
I could spend hours running down this guy's greatest hits, but here now are just a few of my favorites.
First up, from Glass Houses, it's All for Leyna.
Next, from 52nd Street, my favorite Billy Joel song with the exception of Laura -- Zanzibar.
And finally, a song that always turns up on my main iPod playlist right around Christmas: From the Today show, here's a live performance of She's Right On Time.